Seasonal Wedding Tips for the Green Bride
Incorporating seasonal elements into your wedding day is a wonderful way to make your event more memorable and more sustainable. Whether you prefer a winter wedding with hot cocoa and a horse-drawn sleigh or a beachy summertime wedding with a barbeque, there are fun, eco-friendly options for every season that will decrease your carbon footprint and save you money to boot. Here are a few simple ideas to get you started.
Regardless of season, using an organic caterer or green restaurant will ensure that you and your guests are treated to a diverse array of local, seasonal and organic foods. Organic caterers buy in bulk and work hard to develop relationships with local suppliers. As a result they tend to be fairly priced, and can even save you money. Even if you have already booked a caterer, you can work with the company to put together a seasonal menu that uses as many local and organic ingredients as possible.
Winter is a time for staying warm and cozy. Guests will want to dry off and warm up when coming in out of the snow, so hot beverages are a must for cold weather events. Local cider, organic tea and coffee, and fair trade hot chocolate for the little ones are great complements to a beverage bar.
For the meal, hot soup can take the place of the salad and intermezzo on your menu. Root veggies abound in winter months, and can be used in a variety of interesting ways. Roasted vegetables pair well with local grass-fed beef and free-range chicken.
Spring brings fresh young veggies that compliment any menu. Baby carrots, baby asparagus, new potatoes, and sugar snap peas are all healthy items that add color to a plate. Lamb is commonly served in spring, and is fairly priced at this time of year.
Summer offers the most reliable weather for an outdoor celebration, and, along with it, the opportunity to barbeque. Fresh fruit and veggie choices are practically limitless in the summer months. Consider fresh lemonade as a nice alternative to alcoholic beverages, or try melon as a base for a refreshing dessert or smoothie.
Fall is harvest season. Autumn, like summer, offers a bounty of fresh produce and berries. Brie and pear purses and pumpkin soup are guaranteed crowd pleasers. Hot apple cider and pie are natural choices to accompany changing leaves and cooler nights.
Every season offers its own bounty of locally grown organic blooms, and you should discuss what is available in your area with your florist and local flower farm. Winter is the trickiest time for those who live in the north, but there are still excellent options. Evergreens and potted plants, for example, don’t involve shipping in blossoms from overseas, and add elegance to winter décor.
Forcing bulbs and branches (tricking them into thinking it is spring) is an efficient way to grow flowers in the “off-season.” With this technique, you can have beautiful homegrown spring flowers such as lilies, tulips and daffodils even at a winter wedding.
An easy way to force bulbs is to buy them in the fall and plant them in pots you would like to use at your wedding. Water the pots and place them somewhere dry and cold, between 35 and 45 degrees, for 8 to 12 weeks. Most bulbs can be stored in a paper bag in a freezer as well. About 4 weeks before the big day, move the pots to a well-lit windowsill and keep the soil moist until the bulbs produce flowers.
Dormant branches from flowering trees (for example dogwood, cherry, and forsythia) can also be made to bloom on cue when cut and placed in warm water a few days before the ceremony. These branches can be combined with silk or paper flowers to create dramatic arrangements.
Décor and Comfort
Winter is a festive season and evergreen branches and pinecones are always in fashion. Woven wreaths with winterberries are elegant, and can be placed on doors or used as centerpieces. Add a few white soy candles for a cozy touch. Play on the idea of a winter wonderland, complete with ice sculptures and twinkling LED Christmas lights to add magic to the air.
Keeping your guests warm and comfortable is important in cold weather. Goody bags might include unbleached wool socks or cotton tube socks, and an all natural lip balm or moisturizer.
Spring is the time of flowers. A great way to announce a spring wedding is on a plantable seed paper card or with a personalized packet of organic seeds.
Spring brings beauty, but also bugs and rain. One way for you and your guests to ward off a drizzle is with parasols or umbrellas. You can now find bamboo umbrellas with saa paper or rice paper canopies. For hard rain, try a Brelli - a bamboo and biodegradable plastic umbrella shaped like a delicate parasol. To keep the bugs away, offer your guests an all-natural repellant.
Summer heat can wilt conventional wedding flowers quickly. Silk or dried flowers work well in place of fresh ones, and can be brought home and reused after the ceremony.
For outdoor lawn or beach weddings, flip-flops make great favors because guests (especially ladies in heels) can enjoy the reception without worrying about getting sand or dirt in their shoes.
Natural objects, such as smooth stones, shells, or beach glass can be painted and turned into name cards. These items can also be gathered and placed on tables or used with flower arrangements, and then returned to their natural environment afterward.
Fall provides an abundance of attractive natural items. Miniature pumpkins and gourds can be painted and personalized in place of name cards. Fallen leaves in a range of colors can be collected and scattered down the aisle, or used around centerpieces on the tables at your reception. Apples, berries, and grasses also make lovely additions to your fall décor. Consider creating a healthy, edible centerpiece from fruit that guests can take home.
There are endless ways to use seasonal elements in your wedding ceremony and reception that will decrease the impact your celebration has on the earth. Any effort you make to include local and seasonal items will go a long way. Buying locally also supports local business, provides an opportunity to showcase the specialties of your area, and saves money.
You can find more seasonal ideas, organic wedding products and local green vendors for your wedding online at www.thegreenbrideguide.com